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San Francisco Votes to Ban Facial Recognition

San Francisco Votes to Ban Facial Recognition

Lawmakers in San Francisco will vote today on legislation that would ban the use of facial recognition technology among city departments, according to NPR.

If approved, the law would make San Francisco the first city to ban the technologies use, a ban that would extend to police body cameras. “Governments have used the technology for several years, and the software can assist with efforts to find missing children, for example, or prevent driver's license fraud,” NPR reported.

That the technology is so widely used is evidence of what happens when the pace of adoption moves too swiftly. “It’s good to see legislators and others taking technological innovations seriously – especially in terms of this one-to-many use case where facial recognition might be used to pick a face out of a crowd,” said Sam Bakken, senior product marketing manager at OneSpan.

“It’s important to remember though that one-to-one use cases such as that facilitated by Apple Face ID and other technology whereby a user willingly enrolls in the system to allow them to unlock their phone or log into other accounts using their face makes it easy and convenient for consumers to add an additional layer of security to their mobile devices and accounts.”

The proposed legislation is intended to address those instances where individuals are not consenting to have their images included in a database, but not all experts agree that the move to ban the technology is a step in the right direction.

“This is backwards thinking when it comes to public safety and an equally illogical argument could be made against using fingerprints and DNA evidence, which are also left behind without intent or permission but are instrumental in providing leads that solve countless crimes and bring violent criminals to justice. We have a constitutional presumption of innocence that protects us. If facial recognition or fingerprint matching or DNA testing provides clues to law enforcement agencies, they should not be barred from following up on them," John Gunn, CMO, OneSpan.

Source: Information Security Magazine